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USC Cruises To 50-16 Victory Over Washington State

Ryan Nunez |
September 25, 2010 | 4:06 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

USC defeated the Washington State Cougars 50-16 in its Pac-10 opener Saturday but the game actually started off with a bang for the home team.

The Trojans went into Pullman, Washington on Saturday and were immediately sucker-punched by a trick play reverse pass from Jeffrey Solomon to fellow receiver Jared Karstetter that gave Washington State an early 7-0 lead.  “Wazzu” then bravely tried and failed to recover an onside kick that would’ve given them the momentum needed to challenge the Trojans.

Then the Stanley Havili show started.

Attempting to force the tempo with a no-huddle offense early, coach Lane Kiffin started Havili as the feature back rather than Allen Bradford or Marc Tyler.

Havili showed why on the Trojans’ first play from scrimmage, setting the tone with an impressive 59-yard rushing touchdown. The run was so long Havili had time to flaunt both his speed and his smashmouth, tackle-breaking capabilities.

Havili bookended USC's first 50-point effort since last season's opener against San Jose State by pulling in a 20-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from backup quarterback Mitch Mustain.

The senior fullback finished with a game-high 187 total yards, rushing for 80 yards and catching five passes for 107 yards.

Early in the game, USC's offense operated with a ruthless efficiency. After just four offensive plays, USC led 21-7.

Eleven seconds after Havili's touchdown run, freshman cornerback Nickell Robey returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown and four minutes later Barkley and Robert Woods hooked up for an 11-yard touchdown reception.

Later, Robey intercepted a second pass from Cougars’ quarterback Jeff Tuel. The play effectively negated the Bradford fumble and led to a 13-play, 62-yard drive that ended with Tyler hopping over a small pile for a two-yard rushing touchdown. The Trojans went up 28-13, and the game was basically over.   

Everything worked for the Trojans at that point; even a two-point conversion run by Mustain proved effective.

USC made its share of mistakes as well though.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley did not look crisp, throwing two early interceptions, and Bradford gave the ball away with a second quarter fumble.

But the mistakes were not big enough to swing the momentum the Cougars’ way.

The lone bright spot for the Cougars was receiver Jared Karstetter. The 6-foot-4 junior caught both Cougar touchdowns and was the only Wazzu player to give the SC defense fits.

The Trojans are now 1-0 in conference play as they prepare for their Pac-10 home opener next week against Washington.

Stars of the Game: FB Stanley Havili, DE Wes Horton (who left the game after being kicked in the small of his back) and CB Nickell Robey.

To reach reporter Ryan Nunez, click here.



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